Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 5/16/13
Doc Rivers will be back on the bench for the Celtics next season. That means, at the very least, that Kevin Garnett‘s departure from Boston is not utterly assured. Any Celtics fan looking for a deeper silver lining to this news, however, will be disappointed. Rivers will remain, giving the Celtics a decided tactical advantage on a solid three-quarters of their opponents in the league, but any definitive movement on Paul Pierce or Garnett’s situations is still mostly independent of Rivers’ decision. Rivers’ return is promising news, so far as it goes, for those hoping for at least one more year with Pierce and Garnett. The coach’s departure probably would have meant Garnett, who makes no secret of his preference to play for Rivers and nobody else, had played his last game as a Celtic. In that, at least, they can take solace. Garnett is not definitely gone, so that is something. Still, there is a massive difference between Garnett not being gone for certain, and Garnett unequivocally being back. Keep in mind that Garnett also had some strong things to say about Pierce after the Celtics’ Game 6 loss to the Knicks. If Pierce’s presence is not quite the deal breaker Rivers’ was, it clearly looms large in Garnett’s choice. From the perspective of Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, retaining Rivers is a no-brainer. Rivers is one of the top five coaches in the NBA, without question, and unlike Pierce, his contract does not count against the salary cap or the luxury tax. Even if Rivers’ coaching acumen falls off slightly, he is still more than worth the roughly $7 million in average salary he is reportedly making over the life of his deal. Whether the Celtics trot out for the opening tip next season with a familiar lineup or one that features new faces and more youth, that team will be better off with Rivers leading it than it would be with just about anybody else. Pierce and Garnett’s situations are trickier. Unlike their coach, their salaries do impact what types of other things the team can do personnel-wise, and Pierce’s performance in the playoffs is not sufficient for a player due to earn more than $15 million. Ainge and the other members of the Celtics’ front office have far more difficult decisions awaiting them there. Looking at this logically, there should not have been any real doubt whether Rivers was coming back. The argument that he might not want to keep coaching a team that does not include Pierce, Garnett or Ray Allen seemed to have a faulty premise. After all, Rivers signed his current extension following year four of what was supposed to be a three-year project with the “Big Three” — if he was afraid to coach without those three Hall of Famers, he probably would not have committed to five more years when said Hall of Famers were 35 (Allen), 34 (Garnett) and 33 years old (Pierce). Allen is gone, of course, but the remnants of that championship era live on as long as Pierce and Garnett are still in green. Whereas Rivers’ exit would have shut the door on that era completely, his return leaves the door the slightest bit ajar. Whether Garnett and Pierce will be walking through that door remains as open-ended as it was before. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tommy Tuberville returned to Auburn, lined up at Tiger Walk

WATCH: Arizona State pushes pile 20 yards on TD run

Jim McElwain still won't name Will Grier Florida's starter

Steve Smith has microfractures in back, out for Week 5

Cowboys want Brandon Weeden to attempt longer passes

Nebraska captain tells crowd 'I'm sorry we suck'


Report: Dolphins could fire some coaches if team loses to Jets

Georgia fans get #FireRicht trending on Twitter

Mark Fox paints body, wears shoulder spikes in student section

WATCH: Nick Chubb ties Herschel Walker's record

WATCH: Ohio St. WR penalized for 'throat slash' celebration

Brice Ramsey replacing Greyson Lambert at QB for Georgia

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rick Pitino and the shadows that never leave

Chad Johnson ... Steelers kicker?

Flacco deserves more from the Ravens

Time for Neymar's Barcelona

Seth Rollins, WWE depth, Divas and winning

Madison Keys and the future of women’s tennis

Most underrated games in NFL Week 4

What to watch in CFB Week 5

Starter strategies for final, tie-breaker and wild card games

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 4

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker